rapport

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story - 7/2/19


Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from Read more

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

Rapport in 90 Seconds – 1/17/17

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Sometimes we’re meeting the customer for the first time. It’s going to be a brief conversation, but we still want them to end the conversation feeling valued, comfortable, and confident – we want them to have a great experience.

Maybe there’s not enough time to establish a relationship, especially if you only have 90 seconds with the customer. So how can you at least establish a healthy rapport?

First, initiate and greet. Go to them, if possible, to initiate the conversation. Let them know you’re available and happy to help. Greet with some energy (not overbearing, but definitely not flat). Focus on them, and be friendly/courteous.

Second, make it all about them. Ask about their interest, their issue, need, or goal. Asking puts the focus on what’s important to them, making them feel important and valued. Restate your understanding to convey their situation is understood, and make it conversational – flowing dialogue is often key to rapport-building.

Third, share a little about you. It’s all about them, so what they need to know about you is that which makes them feel valued, comfortable, and confident. Valued – how what you do addresses their need. Comfortable – use your name to personalize. Confident – convey that you’ve helped others in similar situations.

Finally, let non-verbal factors communicate for you. Ensure that your body language and tone of voice back up what you’re trying to accomplish with your words. Engage with the body language, expressions, and tone in a manner that conveys you’re focused on them, empathetic, positive, and service-oriented.

Regardless of how much time you have with the customer, communicate in such a way as to engender positive feelings about you and your organization.

Establish rapport in 90 seconds.

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Build Rapport to Build Your Business – 12/6/16

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Story 1: The worried spouse called the gambler’s hotline because she was afraid her husband had a gambling problem. He had been spending lots of money on it, staying out later and later. When the hotline representative answered the call, the representative was calm and empathetic about the situation. She asked appropriate questions and gave the wife time to explain her situation. The caller was comfortable with the advice being offered and ended the call with some clear next steps, resources available, and someone she could trust to call again. She eventually utilized their resources.

Story 2: The nurse at the primary care clinic met Fred – a new patient that had switched clinics because of insurance purposes. The nurse wasn’t rude, but she didn’t smile, didn’t introduce herself, and never used the patient’s name after calling Fred in from the waiting room. She spent the entire time in the exam looking at her computer. When the doctor entered the room to meet Fred for the first time, there wasn’t necessarily tension, but there was a reserved, guarded, impersonal feel to the conversation. Fred considered finding another doctor.

Story 3: Marie needed to buy a new car, and she knew that her credit union had an auto buying service. The people at the credit union had always been friendly and she trusted them, so she decided to give it a shot. After a call and several e-mails, she noticed that no matter to whom she spoke, they were always responsive and consistently pleasant – almost happy! They gave her many details, explained processes, provided links to specific sites on the web, and were patient with Marie’s questions. She bought the car through their service.

These are three stories that had some success (Stories 1 and 3) and a probable fail (Story 2). These are all stories about the need to establish rapport. Maybe the quality of the services in Story 1, the physician’s skills in Story 2, or the auto purchase terms in Story 3 were no better or worse than the alternatives that could be considered, but the decisions to move forward with those businesses were made largely on the rapport that the employees established.

Rapport can lead to credibility, comfort, confidence, and – in the end – a decision to do business with an organization (or not).

Build rapport to build your business.

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Meet Them Where They’re At – 3/15/16 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


I was watching an old episode of the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and Ray was chastised by his mother because he said “That’s where I got to be where I’m at.” She was horrified that he – a professional writer – ended a sentence with a prepositional phrase (or as Ray put it, a “propositional phrase”).

Well I’m making the same grammatical error in this Tip of the Week – Meet Them Where They’re At.

It’s hard to quickly create a relationship with someone, but people in customer service need to know how to quickly establish rapport. A rapport is established where there is a sense that people care about each other’s feelings and thoughts.

To create a rapport with a customer, one key is meeting them where they’re at – If they’re standing, you stand. If they’re looking concerned, you look concerned. If they’re standing in another part of the room pointing at something as they talk to you, go to them. If they’re jovial, loosen up. If they’re speaking softly, don’t be too boisterous. If they start with closed arms, you may start that way too – briefly – before unfolding your arms. If they’re sitting, then sit as well.

Much of this could also be considered mirroring, and it’s important because meeting them in this way breaks down some of the physical barriers to rapport (i.e., body language and tone).

Be careful in situations where they’re highly irate and looking angry – you don’t want to mirror those attributes.

But when establishing rapport and trying to engender some trust, openness, and goodwill, adopt this principle.

Meet them where they’re at.

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